Promotional Product Marketing Blog

Learn the best ways to market your brand with the use of promotional marketing products. Our blog gives you the best tips on ordering the right marketing merchandise to increase brand awareness within your target market. From creative marketing ideas to case studies of how others have used promotional items to promote their brand, we give you clear direction in aligning your promotional product campaign with your overall business goals.


15 Worth-It Tips For Planning Your Next Sales Event

By Kim Laffer-Nick

Sales summits, sales conventions, innovation conferences – whatever the title, whichever the year, the goal is typically the same: motivate, inspire and train a sales force to be the best they can be for themselves and for their companies.

I recently had the opportunity to attend our company’s Sales Summit held at Madden’s Resort in Minnesota. It was my first event of this kind, and I was blown away by the sharing of ideas, camaraderie of the group, desire to learn, and the logistics of how the entire event came together.

The extraordinary planning and organization of the event (before, during and after) begs to be shared. Straight from our successful meeting, here is our checklist of tips to help create your company’s best next Sales Summit!

Before the Event:

1. Set Goals

ePromos’ goal was to leave the frontline of our company feeling inspired, confident, valued, and more ready than ever to engage with leads and close sales. We wanted to connect with each attendee personally to bring out his or her strengths and then to recognize those opportunities. When planning your event, think about what that means to you and your organization. What is the culture at your company? How will attendees respond to different approaches? Decide on a clear purpose.

2. Create a Theme

Think about the best way to engage your audience throughout the packed-tight schedule by choosing a theme and a tone that will resonate with them. At ePromos, the theme for this year’s event was baseball – taking your sales game to the next level and playing to WIN. The four disciplines incorporated into this theme were:

  • Out Think: Develop Your Grand Slam Strategy
  • Out Play: Commit to Your Plan
  • Out Hustle: Perform Like a MVP
  • Out Last: Take Your Game to a New Level
3. Set the Agenda & Share it Beforehand

Once a theme is set, tie each breakout session, presentation and training to that theme down to the littlest detail. For ePromos, that meant four breakout sessions – each led by a member of the management team – to talk through how to “Out Think,” “Out Play,” “Out Hustle,” and “Out Last.” Agendas were shared so attendees knew what to expect for the upcoming week and how to prepare. Leaders, don’t forget to  prepare ahead of time, and think about ways to motivate the team with your presentation. These six great tips for inspiring and influencing staff can help with that.

4. Assign Homework

Think about what you’ve set your goal to be and how you can get attendees into that mindset beforehand. Nick Kiefer, our VP of Sales, is a huge proponent of the book, The Accidental Salesperson by Chris Lytle because it talks about how to take control of your individual sales career and earn the respect and income you deserve, which was the perfect tie-in to our goal for the summit. A copy of the book was sent to each sales employee a month ahead of the conference. Attendees were expected to read the book in its entirety prior to their arrival and be able to speak to how the book personally connected to them.

5. Order Giveaways

Our marketing team did a great job working with our partners to promote the summit.

All attendees received gifts of branded goodies to enjoy during and after the event. For us, the swag bags included:

Sales Summit Swag Bag

Outdoor Signage for the sales summit


6. Create Outdoor and Indoor Signage & Displays

It’s always helpful (especially at a big event and/or in a large facility) to have signage to welcome attendees, direct them to different areas, and (of course) re-enforce the theme of the event. At the ePromos Sales Summit, there were four outdoor flags (one to tie in each discipline) and many indoor displays that were placed outside conference rooms or breakout sessions.

At the Event

7. Open with a Keynote Speaker

When planning a sales conference, opening the event with a credible speaker sets the tone for the week and gets attendees inspired to learn. Karim Ellis, a dynamic motivational speaker for 10 years, has spent time with companies such as Honda and General Electric. He focused his presentation on seven unique principles that allow high-performance players to put goals, dreams, hopes and agendas in checkmate during game time (again, tying into the theme of the event was key here). The presentation was a hit; Karim’s high energy filled the room with excited, eager-to-learn attendees.

8. Break the Ice

Allow everyone to get to know each other by playing games. Play Pictionary®, host karaoke or create Olympic teams for an epic scavenger hunt around the property. Give attendees the opportunity to let loose and have fun.

9. Focus on the Goals

Throughout each day and night as well as before and after each breakout session, recap key learnings and illustrate how they align with your company goals.  For ePromos, this meant encouraging attendees to engage in sessions by choosing Top MVPs at the end. A little friendly competition never hurt anyone! It meant tying in with the book, The Accidental Salesperson on how to take “your game” to a new level. Remember, a sales kickoff meeting success relies solely on the energy it exudes and the content it covers.

Joey, one of our partners from BIC® engages the group by playing games where attendees could win prizes.

10. Invite Your Partners

If attendees can learn from suppliers, dedicate time to bringing them in for some one-on-one conversations. Consider an afternoon of “speed dating” when groups can go from partner to partner. Inform the partners ahead of time of the theme of the event and encourage them to connect their participation to the theme as much as they can. At ePromos, the Sales Summit logo was sent to our partners, and many of them used it to showcase new and exciting products our team can offer to our clients in different and interesting ways.

11. Have Fun

Encouraging the group to get to know each other in a relaxed and agenda-free atmosphere (especially at night) should always be a priority at this type of event. Consider choosing a venue that offers everything on-campus or near the event so the group has a place to go and mingle that is hassle-free to get there. Madden’s was a great summer choice for ePromos because it was on a lake (which makes for outdoor barbecues, beautiful sunsets, and bonfires), had a bar on the property (which was used for karaoke the first night and frequented by many after hours), and had large dining halls and event spaces in close proximity to one another. Work hard by day; play hard by night!

ePromos team enjoying the sunset at Maddens Resort after a team-building scavenger hunt around the property.

ePromos team enjoying the sunset at Maddens Resort after a team-building scavenger hunt around the property.


12. Reward Top Influencers

Every event has those few special people who shine. Whether it’s because they participate in the most activities or lead the group to engage in interesting conversations, they help to create a positive learning environment for the duration of the week. Consider recognizing these stars and thanking them for their efforts by giving them a gift.

Nomi, ePromos Account Executive for 15 Years, Nick, ePromos VP of Sales

(L-R) Nomi, ePromos Account Executive for 15 Years, Nick, ePromos VP of Sales

After the Event

13. Recap the Event & Reinforce Concepts

Following up after the event is just as important as planning the event itself. Encourage the leader of the summit to send out a recap of key learnings shortly after the event has ended. Unfortunately, research has shown that more than 80% of the information reps take in during a sales meeting will be forgotten within weeks, if not days. Set up touch-base meetings with attendees individually to see how they are trending against their goals and using their new skills to do so.

14. Garner Feedback

When you put in a lot of time, effort and resources into creating an inspiring event, it is important to see how it was received. Take the time to create a survey to find out. Google Forms makes it really easy to set up survey questions and organize the answers. Use this feedback to help shape your event for next year!

15. Measure Results

Take the time to analyze the lift in sales that comes from attendees following the months post-event. Don’t forget to include the camaraderie built during this time. Being able to offer events like this plays a big part in company culture and the way your brand may be perceived. Capitalize on that by promoting your event on social media, and remind employees (or attendees of the event) what a success it was as well as to continue the spirit of learning and sharing throughout the year.

Now that you’ve read our checklist, do you need specific ideas on how to make your next event a hit using promotional items? Call us, the Promo Know-How people, and we’ll work together to make your next Sales Summit a great success!


Our Favorite Branding Tips for Small Businesses

When running a small business with low overhead and few resources, branding can be one of the most cost-effective methods in drumming up interest. And in case you were wondering, yes: every business, product and, organization is also its own brand!

So what is a brand, anyway? Although there is no clear-cut definition, there are a few characteristics that help define the term. A brand is a name, design, symbol, voice and messaging, or signature feature that individualizes an organization or product from its competitors in the eyes of the customer. Think: McDonald’s golden arches, TOMS Shoes’ ‘One for One’ business model, Apple’s iPhone.See the McDonald's arches, think hamburger

According to LucidPress, consistent presentation of a brand increases revenue by 23% on average. That’s because branding doesn’t just help to set your business apart from the crowd. It also establishes authority, leads to greater transparency, communicates company values, and builds trust among your clientele. Branding is vital for your small business because it helps form lasting relationships with customers who share your ideals and want to associate themselves with your efforts.

If you can successfully develop a brand strategy, you will be able to grow your business and stand out from the crowd. Start by identifying your target audience. What type of individuals are you trying to reach? Defining your target audience will help you achieve your brand goals. Also ask yourself, “What need does my product solve? What are my audience’s buying habits, and how much would they be willing to pay?”

When you can answer those questions, it helps to shape a more effective brand strategy. Continue strengthening your brand by adhering to the following tips and experimenting with new ideas, including those below:

Invest in the Basics

Naming Your Business – The name of your business is everything, as branding relies heavily on online referrals and word of mouth. Your name should be meaningful and easy to remember. Every word should be intentional – for example, you and your customers should know whether “The” is included in your official title, which characters are upper vs. lowercase, and whether it’s “and” or “&”.

Designing a Logo – A large portion of your customers might assume your “brand” is one and the same as your logo, but this is not the case. Your “brand” is a combination of image, company behavior and market positioning. All of this determines how the general public perceives you — and your logo is a major part of this.

If redesigning or designing for the first time, choose your color scheme wisely, as color psychology plays an important role in peoples’ buying decisions. It will also dictate much of your marketing collateral and may even influence design choices in your offices or physical location.

Building a Website – Your website is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal. In this day and age, you have to have one to be taken seriously. A good website is informative, easy to navigate, and represents who you are as a brand.

Stay Consistent and Persistent with Your Brand Messaging

When it comes to relationship-building, 64% of consumers cite shared values as the primary reason for maintaining relationships with and loyalty to businesses. So how to communicate those values?

Your marketing strategy must include ways that your customers can get to know you. Not just your company name, but your staff, your story; why you got into business in the first place, and what you do differently than “those other guys”.

an MTV Shopping Bag

Our frosted soft loop shopping bag, SKU 8820712

Beyond your name and logo, what does your brand voice sound like? Is it fun and playful, or professional and straight-forward? Scientific, engaging, inspirational or down-to-earth? Masculine or feminine; young or old – you decide!

Whichever you choose, be sure the tone is consistent through all channels of communication. That means both in-person and online, if applicable. It means that whoever writes your Website copy should mimic the voice of whoever writes your email copy; and your email copy should sound an awful lot like what’s written on your blog, printed marketing materials, and in-store signage.

The goal is a consistent experience that helps to clarify your brand persona. Work your branding (name, logo/imagery, and brand voice) through all touch-points. In marketing and promotions, all throughout the sales funnel, and even following a purchase. Slip a business card or thank you note in with online orders, and send in-store customers home with their purchase in gift bags custom printed with your logo.

Forge Real Connections with Your Customers

Identify channels that work with your strategic plan so that you can engage with current and potential customers on a more personal level. This may include a code of conduct for greeting and assisting visitors in-store, or setting expectations with customer service when chatting online, via email or phone.

Though social media can be a great asset to establishing and growing your community, know that relationships with customers are built on interaction and activity – not daily posts. Responding to your customers in a professional and friendly manner will make them feel better about your brand. Conversely, it’s important to know how much communication is too much: more than 50% of consumers expect brands to know when the right moments are to reach out with an email, push notification or social media message.

Identify and Appoint Brand Influencers

Do you have a few loyal customers who would be interested in receiving free merchandise in exchange for increasing awareness of your brand in their social circles? People trust peer reviews and view influencer marketing to be more authentic than traditional marketing tactics. There are many benefits to building a community of brand enthusiasts:

1. Appointing brand influencers will help you engage with your customers. Their entire persona revolves around their audience, meaning you’ll gain precious intel into how people think and talk about your business, products/services, and the problems your business helps to solve.
2. Influencers will talk about the brand, interact with their audience, and spread the word about your business offerings.
3. Another reason to appoint brand influencers is their transparency. Finding an influencer who believes in your brand will drive traffic to your site and provide meaningful insights about your product or service.

Track, Measure, and Test Branding EffortsTrack measure and test

Measuring your branding efforts is no easy task. However, it’s important to figure out if the tactics involved in your branding strategies are actually working or need tweaking.

Some of the best tools to use for tracking include Google Analytics, customer surveys, and social media metrics. There are a vast variety of different tools you can use to track your business depending on your product or service. Monitoring your branding campaign will help your small business develop future branding strategies.

Give Them Something Pleasantly Unexpected

People (61% of them, in fact) love to be pleasantly surprised by experiences offered by businesses. ‘Surprise-and-Delight’ efforts can be as simple as honoring outdated coupons, like Bed, Bath & Beyond. It could be as novel as anticipating and delivering on a need that the customer didn’t even realize you could service.

Here are a few successful ideas: NYC nail studio Paintbox has a photobooth for taking professional nail pics after getting a manicure. The YMCA provides free childcare services for busy parents. Ulta is known for giving their members incredibly generous birthday gifts each year. Surprises don’t have to be costly, though – a free drink or dessert when out to eat can go a long way towards earning a loyal new patron.
You can easily find a way for your small business to do something pleasantly unexpected, either in-store or online. Start by giving away something small for free at checkout, without promoting it ahead of time… and see where that takes you!

Learn from Your Branding Failures

Whatever you do in your branding campaign, there is no one-size-fits-all formula. Developing a strong brand doesn’t happen overnight. Learn from your mistakes, the mistakes of others, and know when to pivot. Always be testing, tracking, and pushing the envelope, taking calculated risks as needed. Amidst the various tactics and strategies, remember that the key to building a strong brand for your small business is to listen to and serve the customer first.

Call us, the Promo Know-How People, and let us work together to plan for your small business.


7 Ways to Boost Your Brand’s Perception Using Webcam Covers

It’s hard to find a device nowadays that doesn’t come equipped with a webcam. It’s pretty much the equivalent of stepping into a car that doesn’t have a CD player in it (not that the CD players are even used as much anymore) . In the business world, webcams are used daily for videoconferencing; in one’s personal life they’re used for nanny-cams, chatting with friends, connecting with family and checking in on one’s home. So, it’s scary to think about the hackers who can quite easily invade your computer and log right in to view life through your webcam.

The good news is that gone are the days of using post-it notes to protect yourself. Webcam covers have been selling off the shelves like hotcakes this season.

Why? Because when you gift a webcam in any capacity – to a friend, to your team at work, as a thank you gift or as a referral gift – you’re showing the recipient you care about their safety. Webcam covers for home computers, laptops, mobile devices and tablets offer peace of mind. And, when your logo is imprinted on one of these useful devices, the name of your business will literally be viewed hundreds of times per day by all those individuals and companies who value privacy. It really is a win-win!

Here are 7 ways you can use webcam covers to boost the perception of your brand:

1. Send via direct mail

Direct mail isn’t dead! We don’t have to convince you about the effectiveness of direct mail… it has a proven track record. In fact, mailings are one of the most highly-targeted forms of marketing. Did you know, when using promo products as an incentive to respond, you are generating four times as many responses as a sales letter alone? The beauty of webcam covers for this purpose is they’re so lightweight they can fit easily and inexpensively into a letter. Or, consider affixing them to a postcard and creating a campaign around that! One stamp will get your promotion delivered.

2. Delight your customers

Go the extra mile to stand out from your competition. Surprise your customers with a useful gift such as a webcam cover to remind them of how much you value their business. It’s really that simple and will go a long way.

3. Thank your employees

Your employees are the number one asset of your company, and in many jobs, they’re at their computers all day. Thank them (and protect them) by giving them a tech-savvy gift. Even better – gift them with two – one to use at their work station, and one to use at home, showing you care about their safety both in and away from work.

4. Give them away at trade shows

Mining for new prospects is what trade shows are all about . . . exhibiting gets you face-to-face conversations with buyers. However, before those conversations can take place, you need a great giveaway to draw attendees to your booth. In today’s digital age, people are demanding technology-related items because they are so useful. So, giving away webcam covers (either prior to the event to entice people to your booth, or during the event to stand out from the crowd) makes a ton of sense. The best part – they’re travel-friendly! You can supply an entire tradeshow floor with gifts that were shipped in a small box!

5. Stock up for your travelling sales team

Whether your sales staff travels locally, nationally or globally, they are your frontline marketers. They will love the opportunity to provide gifts for the people they are meeting with on every trip. However, fitting gifts inside carry-on luggage is always an issue. These hardworking professionals deserve an “easy button” every now and then. Introduce them to a webcam cover giveaway that’s lightweight and small enough to bring on every trip. Clients will love the trendsetting gift they will truly find beneficial.

6. Tie your core values into a gift

Core values can help convert prospects in to customers, if conveyed clearly across all marketing touchpoints. A great way to start getting your customers and potential customers familiar with your core values is by demonstrating those values with promotional products. Webcam covers will give customers peace of mind – one of the most powerful things any company can offer. You’ll be keeping your clients safe with a personalized camera cover that will make a big impact.

7. Add the power of packaging

Custom packaging gives you the opportunity to tell your whole story while making a great first impression. Use the space to tie in the “why” and “how” people can benefit when working with you. Custom packaging, which is available on our featured webcam cover, increases the perceived value of a gift, and the likelihood they’ll remember who you are and what you’re about.

Are you looking for more ideas on how to use webcam covers to your advantage? Call us, the promo know-how people, for expert tips and tricks.

More about our featured webcam cover and why we love it:

Our Toddy Gear® SpySafe™ Webcam cover allows you to customize the packaging for an even bigger impact

A webcam cover is the simplest and most effective tool to prevent webcam hackers from spying. SpySafe™ webcam covers are unique because they are made of soft microfiber. The soft material allows your laptop to close seamlessly. It will stick to virtually any flat surface including plastic, glass and metal. They cover any camera lens on tablets, cell phones, laptops and computer monitors. They stay in place with a unique adhesive that ensures multi-use and no residue on the screen surface when you remove the webcam cover.

ePromos has two types of Toddy Gear® SpySafe™ Webcam Covers. The first is a customizable webcam cover on a backer card with SpySafe product information already on the presentation card. Or, if you want to customize your packaging for more impact (we love this option!), we suggest the webcam cover with personalized packaging. You can create your own packaging by fully customizing the card with a design created by you!


Fun Ideas for Tailgating Gifts & Giveaways

Tailgates are an optimal environment to flaunt your brand to large groups of people – without coming off as overbearing. The high energy of a tailgate provides plenty of opportunities to get your name out in a fun, personable way. As eating and drinking are prime tailgating activities, these events are ideal for food and beverage brands. But they’re not the only ones who can benefit! Companies and organizations from most any family-friendly industry could do well at a tailgate with an appropriate gift or giveaway.

In this piece, we offer some fantastic ideas to spread brand awareness through customizable, tailgate-appropriate items. The key is to choose gifts that are not novelty, but rather are functional in nature. The best giveaways are often those that receive use at other outdoor functions like BBQs, festivals, concerts and more.

Tailgate Gifts & Giveaways

Looking to promote your brand at a tailgate? Here are some of our favorite items to consider gifting the crowd…

Food and Beverage Accessories

Eat, drink, and be merry – these are the three cardinal rules for tailgating. Look onto any tailgating lot and one of the first things you’ll notice is a sea of grills and coolers bursting with burgers, beers, and more. After all, the crowd’s gotta keep its energy up through hours of pre-celebrations as well as the big event its leading up to!
Let your marketing strategy embrace the length and needs of the event. We guarantee you’ll find plenty of ways to gift promotional products that they’ll use right then and there. Such as…

Outdoor Gear & Seasonal Items

For a diehard fan, weather is never a means to stop a tailgate. As such, music lovers, sports fans, and attendees of all ages will endure harsh weather for a day of fun. Freezing temps, rain, and blistering heat – the tailgate must go on! That said, it doesn’t mean they won’t welcome a bit of comfort, especially when it comes in the form of free gifts.
Want someone to really love your company/product/brand? Give them shade on a 100-degree day as they party on a blacktop parking lot. On the other end of the spectrum, a fleece blanket will be welcome to quell the shivers on a 10-degree game day. When crafting your marketing budget, think about…

  • Custom cooler bags — keep food and drinks not only cool, but safe to consume for hours
  • Folding chairs – tailgating requires a ton of energy; how great to be able to sit and keep the party going
  • Promotional hats – whether classic baseball caps or winter beanies, these have the universal appeal to keep fans happy
  • Car sun shades – After spending hours outdoors at a tailgate and then event, cars are practically boiling
  • Sunscreen – everyone gets their own bottle with your name or logo on it!
Gift Baskets

Who doesn’t love the assortment of goodies found in a gift basket? It’s like a bunch of small prizes, with something everyone is bound to love tucked inside. Snacks, chocolates, cheese, wine, tumblers…these can be customized to fit the crowd.

Rather than gifting dozens or hundreds of items, baskets are a great choice for giving out a few, generous prizes at a tailgate. Create crowd-pleasing games – like sport team trivia, for example – to engage passersby. Or encourage people to your area with a raffle. Everyone loves to win something, especially something as substantial as a gift basket.

Sport-themed Items

Tailgates and sports go hand-in-hand, whether rallying around a local high school team or the NFL pros. When experiencing the energy of a tailgate, excitement is contagious, even for the fair-weather fan.
What does this mean for your promotional strategy? You can’t go wrong with some on-theme promo gifts! Especially as many sport tailgates are family-friendly, including fans of all ages. Kids may not get jazzed about a koozie or grilling apron, but you know what they’ll dig?

  • Customizable fidget spinners – kids love ‘em. Parents will, too, for how well they occupy kids’ attention
  • Sports stress balls – these are perfect for kids young and old. After all, who doesn’t love a quick catch, especially before a game?
  • Sports drawstring bags – perfect for carrying extra snacks and drinks into the game…and a million other reasons post-game!

Ideas for How to Gift & Giveaway Your Products

Besides figuring out what you want to gift at a tailgate, it’s key to strategize how you plan to gift it. Below, we discuss a few ideas to consider…

While Tailgating

Set up a tent: Creating a central location is a great option if you want to pull folks into your lair. Of course, you’ll need to do the legwork to make sure they come and visit it. A great way to entice them to stop by is to use one of our above gift ideas – items that are functional for a tailgate. When they notice people walking around or using a useful item, they’ll want to know where they can get one!

You can also pull them in by offering cold cups of water on a hot day, or warm hot coco on a winter afternoon. This is a nice, simple enhancement to whatever branded item you’ll be giving away.

Offer samples: Folks love Costco for a lot of reasons, and their plethora of samples is at the top of that list. Be like Costco. Offer small treats and snacks to the crowd. Not a food or beverage company? Find a sampling that fits your brand and customize it with your logo or brand message.

Though your samples don’t have to be food, food never hurts! Especially in a crowd who’s been outdoors for hours and is sure to be hungry. Inedible samples might include test sizes of your product, a promo code for a freebie, or an on-site demonstration.

Samples can be given away from a tent or milled about by brand ambassadors. Whichever you choose, the crowd is sure to appreciate it.

Create a contest: Tailgates, especially sport-related ones, are rift with an air of competition. Play on that energy by creating your own brand-centric contest. This works well for bigger giveaways, like a gift basket or free tickets, etc. The bigger and better the prize, the more folks will be amped to participate.

Before the Tailgate

Your gift/giveaway doesn’t have to begin and end at the tailgate. Drumming up awareness and excitement about it ahead of time is a great marketing strategy to make sure you don’t get missed in the energy and chaos come game day. Here, a few ideas to pump up the crowd before the tailgate even starts…

Start a social media campaign: Is the game the hot talk of the town? Are folks getting revved up in support of their teams? Get your brand in on the fun by creating your own social media campaign.

Ask for fans to post videos, tweets, etc. about a relevant topic – their favorite player, favorite act or song by the artist, the most exciting game in the league’s history, etc. Anything that builds up the momentum that’s already going. If you’ll be present at the event, be sure to mention that in your posts!

Create (or continue!) a contest: This can tie into a social media campaign, or not! Creating a contest or game that generates some friendly competition among fans is a win-win. Here’s some food for thought: start the contest a week or two ahead of the event and continue it during the tailgate. Then announce the winner before the event begins!

Partner up with the team: Want to really jazz up the crowd? Partner with the playing team to create an ultimate fan experience, complete with your branded gift or giveaway as a keepsake. This can be done through a contest or simple raffle ahead of time. Maybe the winner gets special seats come game day, an invite to watch practice, or even explore the field pre-game day. In any event, you’ll anything you can do to tie in the love for the team will gain loads of fan-attention.

Tailgates are all about extending the fun and high-energy that leads up to a big event. Enhancing that fun with a cool giveaway or gift is an easy way to score some fans of your own!


5 Direct Mail Marketing Myths

Snail mail gets a bad reputation for being outdated and unwanted. In reality, people love getting mail. Even in this digital age, no marketing strategy is complete without a good dose of direct mail promos. Here are just a few of the popular myths surrounding this valuable advertising channel:

Myth #1 – Customers prefer email.

Surprising as it may be, this is actually not true. In fact 77% of Millennials pay attention to direct mail marketing and nearly half completely ignore digital ads. Think about it… how many emails do you receive on a daily basis? Now think about how many pieces of mail you receive. Mail has become the thing that stands out in the crowd, the thing that is unique.

Yes, email offers targeted and timely promotions, but at some point it just becomes noise. Direct mail marketing rises above the noise. And the majority of people genuinely prefer receiving a physical offer over a digital one.

Myth #2 – I can’t track my success.

Direct mail marketing is just like any other form of marketing; when done right, it’s easy to track your success. Success is always determined by your end goal. If you’re goal is to drive people to your website, you’ll want to make sure that your URL appears somewhere on your direct mail piece. You can simply monitor traffic before, during and after the campaign, or for an even deeper look into your audience you can use QR codes that will take them to a specific landing page for you to track.

Sometimes success isn’t measured in traffic but in purchase rates. For this goal, create unique offer IDs that will allow you to trace the purchase back to the recipient. You can also include a phone number dedicated specifically to your direct mail campaign so you know anyone calling on that line is doing so because of your mail piece.

Myth #3 – No one really wants mail.

Mail is classic. There is something wholesome about going to your mailbox and bringing in the mail. It may seem like an antiquated tradition, but mail evokes emotion.

Almost half of all Americans look forward to checking their mail. And according to a recent study by the U.S. Postal Service, 98% of Americans bring in their mail the day it’s delivered and 77% sort through their mail immediately… That means your marketing is getting into the hands of consumers at a time when you have their full attention and they are really interested in what you have to say.

Myth #4 – Digital media is more engaging.

While digital media can be interactive, direct mail has a physical component that digital can never match. It provides a tactile experience and engages more of the senses, which creates a stronger connection to the material.

Plus, there are some really interesting ways you can engage people through direct mail marketing… Did you know that you can mail all kinds of items without any packaging at all? Just make sure the label is securely attached, and you can mail promos that are sure to be seen.

Myth #5 – Direct mail marketing is all oversized postcards.

We do love a good oversized postcard now and then, but no, that’s not the only option. There are tons of great ideas for direct mail promotional products… items like imprinted webcam covers, phone wallets, seed packets, bookmarks and calendars to name a few… but basically anything you can think of that’s lightweight and thin enough to fit in an envelop works well here.

You can also think outside the box – literally – and mail promos like frisbees and rubber balls with just a mailing label. This saves your customers a step and ensures your gift is seen. But if you choose to go the more traditional route and put your promo in an envelope, be sure to mark the outside to let them know there is a gift waiting inside!

One more takeaway…

It’s not all or nothing when it comes to marketing. Don’t think of it as a battle of digital versus print… it’s actually about finding the right balance in the relationship between pixel and paper. An integrated marketing strategy makes sure everything – print, web, social, mail, promos, tv, radio – is all working together to help you accomplish your goals. And now that we’ve busted some of these myths about direct mail marketing, let us help put the mail to work for you!

Promo Know-How Tip:

Don’t be afraid to get creative with your Direct Marketing efforts and think outside the box. This pest company certainly did a great job with that!



What to Know about Hosting a Charging Station at Events

Smartphones have become ingrained in everyday life thanks to the numerous and tremendous tasks they perform. But for all their good, there’s one thing most folks would agree needs a mega-facelift: battery life.

We’ve all experienced the sinking feeling that comes when the dreaded “20%” warning flashes across the screen. We’ve all searched high and low for an accessible outlet to camp out at for those few short minutes while getting in a quick recharge. After all, the only thing worse than a dying battery is a dead one. Despite poor battery life being a common complaint of smartphone users, most rarely carry a charger with them, which is why hosting a charging station at your next event is a brilliant marketing move.

What is a charging station?

A charging station is a portable pad, kiosk or furniture with multiple charging outlets for folks to plug into and recharge the batteries for any portable devices. They’re a natural fit for any event, from trade shows and conferences to just about any type of mass group outing, like concerts, sporting events, auctions, and more. If there’s going to be a crowd, there’s going to be tons of smartphones… with quickly depleting batteries (and frustrated attendees).

Below, we discuss some of the important must-knows of hosting a charging station at an event:

Who can host a charging station?

In theory, anyone can host a charging station, but you’ll want to check with the corporate sponsor of the event before assuming it’s okay. Most sponsors welcome the addition of a charging station, as it benefits everyone there. However, at bigger conferences and trade shows, the event will typically have a specific charging station set up, complements of one of the event’s larger business sponsors.

Depending on the style charging station, you may need a larger amount of floor space – especially if you’re bringing a free-standing kiosk or chargeable counter. From a practicality standpoint, these require significant space and access to at least one electrical outlet to plug into. Again, get your sponsor’s blessing before you plan on setting up your own at their event.

What equipment is needed?

Charging stations are wonderfully low-maintenance. They don’t require a ton of equipment at all. In fact, they’re fairly self-sufficient.

As mentioned above, you’ll need to make sure you have easy access to an appropriate power outlet to plug your station into at the event. The specific requirements for voltage may vary, but it’s a relatively safe bet that you’ll only need the common 110 V. If you have a small table or booth, make sure you’ll have outlet space enough for the guests as well as for your team and their set-up!

Should I buy or rent?

You can do either! The choice is up to you. To give you an idea:

On renting: There are plenty of charging station rental companies that are happy to outfit your event for reasonable prices. This is a great option for companies testing out the effectiveness of this offering at events, or who want to use it for their own functions.
Renting is also ideal for those who require assistance, as rentals typically include 24/7 support for any issues that may crop up. Rental fees vary from about $200-800 per day. These fees are based on several items, such as the type of charging station, length of rental, and branding options.

On buying or leasing: On the other hand, if you find yourself constantly renting, it may be time to invest. Having your own saves the hassle of arranging pick-up and drop-off of the equipment. The cost for a charging station vary greatly – you can find prices for as low as $400 all the way up to $6000+. Many sellers offer the option of buying outright or leasing their products, to better fit your marketing budget needs.

What style station should I get?

Before choosing a product type, the first question you should ask is whether users will have to stay with their device to charge it, or whether it can be secured and left for a period of time while charging. There are pros and cons to both, and the station you opt for will depend on your goals for hosting the charging station.

With either option, you can expect improved brand perception and awareness – kudos! But aside from that, are you looking to further engage with attendees, perhaps about a product or service you offer?

If so, you may want to keep them around while their device charges, as it provides a great opportunity to showcase what you’re offering. In this case, you might opt for one of the following charging station types:

  • Table with built-in outlet, where you can have a professional, sit-down discussion with attendees while they plug in
  • Reception counter, where attendees can charge devices while chatting with your teammates or perusing your company literature
  • Display kiosks, where visitors can charge while viewing a slideshow, film, or live demo with your staff on the kiosk’s monitor
  • Couches or reclining chairs, where guests can get off their feet while giving their battery some life
  • Individual ports or portable charging bays, which can display prominently on a table at your booth for guests to use while reading your material and picking up swag
  • A recharge “lounge”, separate from your booth. where guests can plug in while watching, reading, or networking

On the other hand, maybe you prefer to give recipients the freedom to drop off their devices and continue about. In which case, chaining them to a charging station is unnecessary. Allowing attendees to lock up their phones and get back to the event is a win-win for all – they get a charged phone, and you keep their interest on the show/event/etc. In this case, you have just a few options:

  • Charging lockers or cabinets, where guests can lock up their devices in an individually secured cubby for as long as needed
  • Touch-screen charging kiosks, where attendees can leave their devices and return to pick them up when ready
What if my charging station gets too crowded?

This can be an issue particularly for events that prefer attendees don’t hang around the station waiting for their phones. You’d better believe that folks will line up and wait it out for the chance to plug in!

To avoid this, make sure you have an adequate number of stations available. We recommend one charging port for every 400 people; but depending on the event and the demographic it draws, you may prefer more or less.

If, despite your best efforts, your station is still too crowded, consider a contingency plan. We suggest gifting branded power banks and chargers or during the event, offering them alongside your marketing materials and other swag. Everyone can always use an extra charger! Plus, there’s inherent comfort in having one in-hand, even if it can’t be used at that exact moment.

Folks can relax knowing they’ll be able to power back up as soon as they get to an outlet, which gives them time and peace of mind to talk to you about your business.

What are the benefits of hosting a charging station?

There are a number of reasons why smart brands choose to offer guests a free juice up:

  • Increased brand awareness – especially when your charging station is branded with your company name and logo
  • Improved brand perception – provided a free charge is a generous act that will ensure users view your brand in a positive light
  • Increased foot traffic – according to Veloxity, customers who use cell phone charging stations saw improvements up to 35%
  • Boost engagement – folks who need their phone to charge are more likely to stop and strike up a conversation; what’s more, they’ll spend a longer time on average at your booth or table while waiting for their phone to finish powering
  • Better retention – “My phone is dying” is a totally acceptable excuse to leave an event early. Charging stations help to keep more attendees at the event or on the exhibition floor for longer – which means more leads for you, and a more enjoyable time for everyone!
How can I make my charging station stand out?

Throw a charging station into the mix of your event and folks will be happy – but why stop there? You can absolutely make your charging station into a destination, especially if you want folks to hang around so you can engage with them.

For instance, create a full-blown “café corner” complete with a coffee bar and light snacks for attendees to enjoy while charging their phones. Comfy seats are another bonus, especially for events that require a lot of standing or walking. Creating a mini café will make your interaction with folks more natural and relaxed, rather than them feeling potentially awkward just standing around – and zipping off as soon as their phone is done charging.
Want more ideas? Check out this piece, which highlights 15 unique charging stations from big brands like Toyota and Lacoste.

Ready to jump onboard and host a charging station at your next event? We thought so! For other trade show necessities – including displays, games, banners, and giveaways – check out our fully customizable selection at ePromos.